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As these findings demonstrate, women of all ages can benefit by regular weight-bearing exercise, an increased intake of calcium-rich foods, and—for postmenopausal women—the maintenance of adequate estrogen levels.
The first excerpt is from a paper on the generic nature of America’s highway exit ramp services; the second is from a paper on shape constancy. Our eyes often receive pictures of the world that are contrary to physical reality. Normally you will not devote a separate section of the paper to this; in fact, often the thesis or objective is conveniently located either right at the beginning or right at the end of the Introduction.
The observation struck me slowly, a growing sense of déjà vu. A pencil in a glass of water miraculously bends; railroad tracks converge in the distance. A good thesis statement fits only the paper in which it appears. ." Instead, concretely announce the most important elements of your topic and suggest your fundamental approach—even point us toward the paper’s conclusion if you can.
You should get your reader’s attention immediately by announcing the paper’s subject or by launching into a relevant scenario or narrative that informs or illustrates your overall argument.
A paper illustrating the costly effects of poor mine design, for instance, might open with the scenario of how a poorly designed pillar at a salt mine in Louisiana once collapsed, fracturing the surface above and draining an entire lake into the mine.
Beware of the temptation to open your final paragraph with "In conclusion," or "In summary," and then summarize the paper.
Instead, let your entire conclusion stand as a graceful termination of an argument.
As examples of how creative an introduction can be, here are the opening lines from a geography paper and a paper on optics, both of which use narrative technique to arouse our interest.
Note how the first excerpt uses an "I" narrator comfortably while the second excerpt does not use "I" even though the writer is clearly reflective about the subject matter. Most papers have outright thesis statements or objectives.
As examples, I offer two sets of section headings taken from essays. Craig Bohren’s "Understanding Colors in Nature" (1), which appeared in a 1990 edition of Just by considering the section headings in the above examples, we can begin to see the fundamental structures and directions of the essays, because both sets of headings break the paper topic into its natural parts and suggest some sort of a movement forward through a topic.
Note how these headings—as all section headings should—tell us the story of the paper and are worded just as carefully as any title should be.